harvesting and storing your riwai

When do you start harvesting?  I heard you say before that you’ve already started pulling your garlic out [December].

Yeah.  Started pulling the garlic out yesterday and we’ve already started harvesting some varieties of riwai.  Had a call from a Kuia who’s got an unveiling and an 80th birthday so yeah, we took up 60kgs yesterday.

So you would’ve planted them around…?

September they went into the ground.  And some of them weren’t quite ready to come out.  But some had definitely burnt off, they tell you.

They tell you?  How do they tell you?

They told us by the tops dying off.  So basically there’s nothing more happening underneath.  They die and that’s the time to start lifting and harvesting.

Once you start lifting them out, do you just take them straight out and store them?  What’s the process you go through?

If we’re going to be saving them, I like to leave them out in the air to dry off first, to harden off if you like.  Otherwise, if you put them straight into storage and they haven’t hardened off, they’re a bit fragile.  So it’s best to harden them off first, so I like to leave them out for a day or two.  And then of course we sort them and store them and make sure that we get all the ones with bites or nicks out so that they don’t contaminate each other or rot.

So when you’re sorting them out, you put them all out from the ones you’re going to eat?

So we would’ve sorted off the ones that we’re going to be eating.  So we have a lot that we eat so those come out, and probably maybe even 20 percent or more, we would keep the seed.  So we ensure that we always have enough seed.

no Geneva Hildreth, Nga Puhi

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